EPA to cut emissions, sulfur in gas

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration proposed new regulations today to clean up gasoline and automobile emissions, claiming the new standards would provide $7 in health benefits from cleaner air for each dollar spent to implement them. The costs likely would be passed on to consumers in higher gasoline and automobile prices.

The Environmental Protection Agency said the new rule would reduce sulfur in gasoline and tighten automobile emission standards beginning in 2017, resulting in an increase in gas prices of less than a penny per gallon. The agency estimated it also would add $130 to the cost of a vehicle in 2025, but predicted it would yield billions of dollars in health benefits by slashing smog- and soot-forming pollution.

EPA Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe said the proposal is designed to “protect the environment and public health in an affordable and practical way.”

The oil industry, Republicans and some Democrats wanted EPA to delay the rule, citing higher costs. An oil industry study says it could increase gasoline prices by 6 to 9 cents a gallon.

“Consumers care about the price of fuel, and our government should not be adding unnecessary regulations that raise manufacturing costs, especially when there are no proven environmental benefits,” said Bob Greco, an American Petroleum Institute official. “We should not pile on new regulations when existing regulations are working.”

Environmentalists hailed the proposal as potentially the most significant in President Barack Obama’s second term.

The so-called Tier 3 standards would reduce sulfur in gasoline by more than 60 percent and reduce nitrogen oxides by 80 percent, by expanding across the country a standard already in place in California.

For states, the regulation would make it easier to comply with health-based standards for the main ingredient in smog and soot. For automakers, the regulation allows them to sell the same autos in all 50 states.

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